Plotnik, author of the well-respected Elements of Editing
(1982), takes on the venerable duo of Strunk and White in this peppery guide to vibrant writing. Implying that Strunk and White's revered Elements of Style
might be a little stodgy in its prescriptive approach to language, Plotnik advocates that writers judiciously bend the rules, "drawing on all levels of language to animate expression." To that end, he devotes 31 chapters to detailed analyses of the factors that make language sing. He is especially adept at providing exactly the right felicitous quotation to make his point and draws from a wide variety of writers. In discussing onomatopoeia, for example, he cites the "THROCK" and "SPLOOSH" of graphic novelist Mike Allred and also excerpts comedic writer James Thurber, who long ago was writing about tires that "booped and whooshed." In addition, Plotnik addresses such practical topics as the question of audience, providing a pocket guide to the different generations and their wildly varying approaches to the written word. Moving seamlessly between instruction and quotation, Plotnik's work makes for addictive reading for both aspiring and veteran writers. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
" . . .delivers what it advertises: a kick in the pants toward bold, contemporary style. . . . This will be the best ten bucks you've ever spent. . . . 5 of 5 stars" ---Jules L., 15 Nov., 2009 --Go, Go, Gatsby (gogogatsby.com)
"[A] book filled with wise advice, many belly laughs, and much inspiration. I re-read it from front to back at least once a year--and I dip into its pages from time to time as a way of recharging my writing batteries. -"The Five Best Writing Books No One Ever Told You About," Daphne Gray-Grant, July 2, 2013, Ragan's PR Daily: Europe
"[L]oving language doesn't mean we always understand how particular words or expressions work their magic. Personally, I really love it when someone like Plotnik can break it down for me, help me look under the hood to see how that writer I so admire has done it." ---Nancy Wick, The Editor's POV
, Jan. 6, 2011Billy Collins, former American Poet Laureate
A must for every writer's desk.Richard Lederer, co-author of The Write Way and Comma Sense
...Plotnik not only knows how to write about spunk and bite. He writes with spunk and bite. So will you, if you take in the wisdom of his colorful, learned, and caring advice.
Andrea J. Sutcliffe, editor, The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage
Spunk & Bite
belongs next to Strunk and White on every writer's desk.
Poynter Online - (Chip Scanlan, “Chip on Your Shoulder”), March 6, 2006
Instead of rules, Spunk & Bite
offers choices bolstered with real-world examples. . . . Plotnik . . . zooms in close, helping writers deconstruct their prose from the ground floor -- word to clause to sentence -- up to paragraphs and chapters to our Holy Grail, a finished piece of writing. . . . Unlike Strunk & White's catalogue of abstractions and rhetorical ruler slaps, Plotnik's Spunk & Bite
is refreshingly concrete. Its author know his linguistic stuff and so can you.College and Research Library News - March 2006 (George Eberhart)
[A] bookful of remedies for literary listlessness, sprinkled with examples of ringing prose penned by wordsmiths from Poe to Proulx. Plotnik rips past the rigid rules of Strunk and White’s 1959 Elements of Style
and calls on writers to invigorate stodgy phrasings and pallid diction with freshness, texture, force, and form. Each chapter contains apt advice on what to avoid (actionless action, wandering modifiers, exhausted adverbs) and what to emulate (over-the-top tropes, killer megaphors, enallage, foreignisms, nuanced semicolons, edgy style). An energetic and entertaining read for cramped writers.